9-09 During the Audience and the Black Sword

You're the man who saved my daughter's life... you're younger than I thought. Let's talk closer.

 Lean's father got up from the heavy chair on the platform and walked slowly towards us.
 I was told that he was younger than I expected, but on the contrary, Lean's father looked a little older than I had imagined.
 Perhaps it was his dignity or his fine bearing that made him look that way, or something.

I'm not a nobleman or anything. I may do something that will be disrespectful. ...... Are you okay with that?

 I'm not familiar with etiquette, so I'll go ahead and say it.
 Inez's eyebrows twitched as she knelt down.
 I'm not a fan of politeness, so I'll go ahead and say it. ...... Did I do something wrong with that?

I'm not sure. Only the aristocracy would be concerned about such things. In fact, it's easier to talk about it that way.
"Well, that's very kind of you.

 Lean's father stood quietly in front of me and said.

Lean's father stood quietly in front of me and said, "I'm the one who should be thanking you.

 Lean's father stood quietly in front of me and said, "It is we who should be thanking you." He grabbed my hands in his wrinkled and scarred ones and bowed deeply.

"Let me thank you again. If it weren't for your work, my daughter wouldn't be here today. No amount of thanks will ever be enough. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

 I don't know the etiquette of a nobleman, but I could feel his heartfelt gratitude in every movement he made and in every word he said.

"Oh, it's nothing. That's all I need to say.

 Lean's father nodded in satisfaction at my words.
 ...... Okay, now you've been thanked.
 I glanced at Lean and said, "You can leave now. .......

But you can't return a benefactor who has done you a great favor empty-handed, can you? I'll give you what I can. I'll give you what I can. Is there anything you want?
"...... No, I don't want anything. I'm sorry, no.

 I feel like I'm repeating myself with Lean again.
 I wonder if it's a family thing?

 But all I want is to become strong, acquire skills, become a full-fledged adventurer, and go on an adventurous journey.
 It seems that this desire is very far away and difficult. .......
 At least, it's not something that money can buy.

...... I see. You don't need money or land? ......

 Lean's father thought for a moment and then said.

"Then how about the treasure from the labyrinth?
 Our country, as you know, is home to the world's oldest labyrinth.
 In the treasure hall, there are all kinds of labyrinthine curiosities that have been excavated over hundreds of years.
 Some of them may be useful and cannot be obtained with money.
 ...... If you want, you can take half of what I have stored away. How about that?
"Oh, Father, you can't go that far...?

 Lean's brother looked at his father with a surprised look on his face.
 To tell you the truth, I'm not too happy about it.
 I don't know how much there is in the treasure house, but I honestly don't need it.
 I'm sure I don't need any of it right now.
 I'm happy with my life as it is now.
 First of all, even if I got them, there would be no place to put them.

"No, I don't need that either.
"No, I don't want that either." "Well, then what do you want? It would be more helpful if you could tell me what you want.
No, I really don't want a fancy thank-you gift. What you just said is more than enough.

 You didn't do much more than rescue Lean from a raging bull.
 I'm sure that with all the skills she has, she could have managed to do something like that.
 I was just showing off.
 What a loyal father and son.
 I wonder if that's the culture.

"...... nothing needed". Hmm. Then what would you like ......?

 Lean's father was looking up at the ceiling, pondering.
 ...... I really don't want anything.

I'm not sure what else would be worthy of the debt you owe me for saving my daughter's life.

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He picked up a black sword on the wall behind him.

 Then he came back to me and handed me the old black sword.

"This is the sword ...... or ......?
"Yes. It's a bit of a mess, though.

 When I picked it up and looked at it up close, I was a little unsure if it was really a sword or not.
 It definitely had the shape of a sword.
 But it was so battered, so blackened here and there, and so damaged in places, that it didn't look like it would cut at all.
 Moreover, if you look closely, you can see that it is deformed in some places.
 In a word, it is not a sword but a flat piece of metal.

 And I don't know what it's made of, but it's pretty heavy.
 The moment I held it in my hand, it was so heavy that I almost dropped it.
 It was as if everything was made of a metal heavier than lead.

"Father, is that...?
"That's good, Rain. Now that I'm no longer on active duty, it's just a decoration. You have a replica of this one that you made before, just for looks. If you replace it with this one, I'm sure no one will notice.
Inez. Gilbert. You're not to tell anyone.
As you command.
"......, understood.

 As I watch them interact, I look at the flat, black piece of metal in my hand, which I can't tell if it's a sword or not.
 I wonder if this is really something I should accept.

"Isn't this something important? If so, I can't accept it.
"No, no, it's just something I picked up on my travels. It doesn't belong to anyone. I just happened to like it enough to use it for a while.
"Found on the road, huh?
Well, it's my hand-me-down. Will you take it if it's that good?

 I looked again at the black sword in my hand.
 Leanne's father's secondhand.
 The more I look at it, the more rugged it seems.
 The more I look at it, the more rugged and shabby it looks.
 The more you look at it, the more you see that it is a rude and shabby sword. It is heavy anyway, but if you think of it as a training sword, it seems like a good one.

 ...... It might be just right for stake driving at construction sites.

I'll take that as a thank you.

 Lean's father smiled as I said this.

"Give it a try.
"...... like this?

 I did as he asked and swung the black sword with one hand.
 It was still heavy.
 But it's not so heavy that you can't swing it.
 It's not a problem if you're using it to strengthen your muscles.

"How is it?
"It's heavy. But not too heavy to swing.

"Hmm, so you can wield it with one hand. The sword may look a little poorly made, but it's ...... really sturdy. It's saved my life many times when I was in danger...

 Lean's father looks somewhat nostalgic.
 I'm sure it's very important to you.
 But once you've been given something, you can't give it back, can you?

"Then I'll take good care of it.
"Yes, please do.

 Lean's father smiled happily.

And about my daughter, ...... if you don't mind, could you give her a little training? There's a lot of trouble everywhere these days. ...... I'm a little worried.

 You're worried about Leanne?
 Another abrupt .......

No, I don't think there's anything I can tell you. I don't think there's anything I can tell you, and I think it's up to you to decide for yourself - it's not good for parents to interfere too much with their daughters, you know?
That's true.

 Lean's father laughed.
 He is a middle-aged man who smiles a lot.

 But the faces of everyone around him were tense.
 Inez, in particular, is staring at me with a terrible glare.

 Did I just say something wrong?

"...... Did I say something wrong?
"No, no, no. No, not at all. It's been a long time since we've had this conversation.
Okay, well... can I go now?
Yeah, I'm sorry to keep you. As Lean's father, I'd like to thank you again.
It's nothing. It's nothing. I'm sorry I got you such a big reward.

 I really didn't want anything.
 I really didn't want anything, but you gave me something that seemed important.

 But in the end, it might have been a good thing.
 This black sword looks beat up, but that's why I can accept it without hesitation.
 It seems to be sturdy, and its weight may be very good for training.
 It's also very wide, so it will be useful for cleaning out the gutters.

 ...... I'll try it out tomorrow.

I'm going to go home now.

 And so I did.
 I said goodbye to Lean and the others, and left the castle.

 I was rushing home to wash off the day's sweat at a public bathhouse...

 I was going to .........

I need to talk to you. I need you to follow me.

 Inez, a vassal of Lean, stopped me.